Friday Freakout: Is the School Choice Movement Cultish?

Today’s freakout comes to us from the comments section of Diane Ravitch’s micro-post on her blog titled “Friedman Foundation disagrees with Peter Greene.” 

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Children have been playing the game “Simon says” for decades. One kid gets to be Simon and tell all the kids what to do. How does a child stand out as the winner? They must outlast their competitors by following only the orders that begin with the phrase, “Simon says…”

We certainly want to be respectful of susannunes’ opinions, but, for some Friday fun, let’s try a game of “Susannunes says” to see what interests you, our readers, the most:

– “Susannunes says” believe that the Friedman Foundation and school choice supporters want “to sell off public assets for private gain.”

– The Friedman Foundation, and even our founder Milton Friedman, have not been shy in expressing the value that exists in the private sector and how its strengths could make the public sector more productive for families, educators, and taxpayers. But it’s not for us to decide which sector is necessarily better at educating all kids. We believe public schools, charter schools, private schools, parochial schools, online schools, blended schools, home schools, and options yet to be invented are all necessary aspects of a diverse education landscape. That, plus empowering all families to access any of those options, is what we call a school choice system. As Milton Friedman said, “I don’t assume that private schools are better than public schools. I assume that competition is better than monopoly.”

– “Susannunes says” believe “Uncle Miltie…came up with the voucher scheme as a way to get around Brown v. Board of Education.”

– Listen to what Milton Friedman had to say, then make up your own mind whether his goal with school choice vouchers was to segregate schools or discriminate against people of color.

– “Susannunes says” believe that “vouchers don’t work and are ineffective.”

– Evaluate the research for yourself, available here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Those are all the random-assignment studies—considered the “gold standard” of social science research—conducted on school vouchers.

– “Susannunes says” don’t engage in “any kind of ‘debate’” with school choice supporters because they are members of a cult.

– Engage in a dialogue with us. Contrary to susannunes’ claim, we are happy to have a conversation on the concerns and critiques people have about school choice. We can’t inform if we don’t ask questions, and we can’t improve policies without talking to people with different perspectives. Ultimately, we don’t want to tell Americans what is best for them to believe. We only want to make sure everyone has as much information about school choice as possible.

Now tell us. How long did you last in the game of “Susannunes says?”